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  • Writer's pictureMark Tedesco

Our Italian Adventure: Returning to Puglia

PART 50: It might be interesting to share how we pulled off living in Italy for part of the year. I will post some steps we took.


We live in Puglia in the summer and then back again in the winter.

Step 1: In a few days, we will return to Puglia after spending 90 days out (in California). We are following the 90/90 guidelines, according to the Schengen zone rules.


What am I looking forward to in our life in Puglia?


Step 2: Local friends.


Friendship has become central to our new life in Puglia, and I look forward to continuing and deepening our friendships with locals who live in Puglia (and a few who live in Rome). Puglians and Italians, generally, are open, affectionate, and interesting people ready to laugh, share stories, and form bonds. I am looking forward to seeing those faces again who warm my heart.


Step 3: Expats.


Taking steps to have a better life by establishing ourselves in Italy has borne the unexpected fruit of encountering others on similar adventures. So many times, I have said to my partner, "We are meeting the most interesting people here!"


I've always been intrigued by those who want more from life than taking care of responsibilities and fulfilling commitments. I remember a counselor at a high school where I worked; he had long hours and a family. Yet, he had such a passion for music that he made the time to play the saxophone with his band at gigs on weekends.


People who want a bigger life are interesting, and we have met, and I am sure we will meet fascinating people in Puglia who dare to live their dream. I am looking forward to seeing them again.


Step 4: Way of life in Puglia.


  • Slower pace


It's funny that I find the pace of life in Puglia slower on the one hand and more intense on the other. Life feels slower because it is a culture that knows how to savor the moment, enjoy good friends and food, and celebrate traditions and history. Life also feels more intense because of the closeness of friendships, the cultural and other sites to visit, and the travel opportunities.

  • Life on the streets


My first experience living in Italy was eight years in Rome, beginning at age 19. I fell in love with life on the streets: street performers, friends strolling, gelaterias, free concerts, and people-watching. In Puglia, we love walking in our town, Lecce, Nardo, or other areas and enjoying the people, sites, vistas, and sounds; we go out without a plan and always encounter exciting people and places. Much better than watching TV every night.


  • Focus on friendship


We have made friends with some locals in Puglia; their sense of community and friendship is rubbing off on us. These relationships have transformed our experience of Puglia and given us a sense of home.


  • History and Culture


I taught World History for twenty-five years; being in Italy makes me feel like a child who ditched his parents and found himself in a candy store with his dad's wallet! The history and cultural wealth are everywhere, from the 16th-century towers of Salento to the Trulli of Alberobello. I love to experience history, not only study it, and being in Southern Italy brings the past to life.


  • Outdoor activities


My partner and I are drawn to an active lifestyle and get restless if we sit around all day, even in a beautiful area. Besides training at the gym daily in our town, I look forward to our hikes in Puglia; we often climb the hills around Santa Caterina to enjoy the views and discover new vistas. I also can't wait to swim in the sea again at a sandy beach; I'm not too fond of the rocky shores that some of my friends go to. Cycling is also an activity that I engage in every day in California, but I still haven’t found a good cycling area near our place in Puglia.


Step 5: Exploring Europe.


In a previous blog, I wrote about using Puglia as a base; this is an aspect of our life in Italy that I look forward to every time. This summer, we plan on driving to Tuscany and flying to Vienna; I can't wait!


Step 6: Visiting Rome.


There is something about Rome that feels like home and speaks to me. I lived there during my formative years and always found the city magical, despite its faults. I can't wait to spend some time there while we are in Puglia.


Insights: Being away from our life in Puglia for 90 days helps me appreciate what we have and seek to deepen and build on it.


More next time.

My book is "Stories from Puglia: Two Californians in Southern Italy." Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Stories-Puglia-Californians-Southern-Italy/dp/1913680649.




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Guest
Jul 02, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

I totally agree with your recent post. We recently retired & bought an apartment in Sulmona. After vacationing in ABRUZZO for the last 8 years, we decided to make the leap to own a place. We also enjoy the outside life. We will be riding our bikes in Puglia this fall for an 8 day trip. Exploring more of Italy by bike is our idea of fun! Eloise

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Mark Tedesco
Mark Tedesco
Jul 04, 2023
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Wow, that sounds exciting. Life is so short and you are really going for it! Riding bikes in Puglia sounds incredible. Let me know how that goes and where. Thanks. Mark

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